10 Biggest Tech Headlines in 2012

Apple Launches the iPad Mini
The iPad Mini launched in late 2012 after nearly a year's worth of speculation about whether or not Apple would market a smaller tablet. Courtesy Apple Inc.

In the age of the Internet, it's hard to keep products a secret. This is particularly true for Apple, a company that receives a healthy dose of scrutiny from tech journalists and consumers on a daily basis. And with supply chains stretching to countries overseas, there are many places where a person might let a bit of information leak about upcoming products. Such was the case with the iPad Mini.

By the time Apple officially announced the iPad Mini on October 22, 2012, multiple tech blogs and news sites had published rumored specs and designs based on leaked information. Many of those rumors turned out to be true. Like the full-sized iPad, the Mini has several models. Storage ranges from 16 to 64 gigabytes, depending upon the model. You can order one with WiFi and cellular service or just WiFi.

Unlike the latest iPad models, the Mini doesn't have a retina display. It also has a less powerful processor than the current generation of iPads. It's larger than an iPod Touch and smaller than a full-sized iPad with a 7.9-inch (20.1-centimeter) screen.

The iPad Mini is Apple's response to the 7-inch (17.8-centimeter) tablet market, which includes devices like Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet and Google's Nexus 7 tablet. With the iPad Mini an official product, new questions arise. Will Apple dominate in the smaller tablet space the way it has with full-sized tablets? And how will the iPad Mini affect iPad and iPod Touch sales figures?

Honorable Mention: Apple launched several products in 2012. In March, Apple unveiled the third-generation iPad. During the October 22 iPad Mini launch event, Apple updated the iPad again with a fourth-generation model, upsetting some Apple customers who were upset that the previous version of the device had only been on the market for a few months before the company rendered it obsolete. Other products launched in 2012 include the iPhone 5 and updates to the Macbook Pro and Mac Mini computers.

Author's Note

It's always interesting to look back over the course of a year and see which stories stand out. It's also hard to choose which news items to include. Other stories about cyberwarfare, spying, privacy issues and the ongoing WikiLeaks case were strong contenders. In the end, I picked stories I felt received the most attention from the media or hinted at what the future of technology might be like.

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  • Anderson, Nate. "Mega-victory: Kim Dotcom search warrants "invalid," mansion raid "illegal"." Ars Technica. June 28, 2012. (Oct. 17, 2012) http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/06/mega-victory-kim-dotcom-search-warrants-invalid-mansion-raid-illegal/
  • Apple. "iPad Mini." (Oct. 24, 2012). http://www.apple.com/ipad-mini/overview/
  • BBC. "Apple loses UK tablet design appeal versus Samsung." Oct. 18, 2012. (Oct. 20, 2012) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19989750
  • Brodkin, Jon. "Microsoft unveils Surface tablets, powered by Windows 8." Ars Technica. June 18, 2012 (Oct. 17, 2012) http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/06/microsoft-unveils-surface-tablet-powered-by-windows-8/
  • Casserly, Meghan. "Marissa Mayer Named Yahoo! CEO: New Most Powerful Woman In Tech?" Forbes. July 16, 2012 (Oct. 17, 2012) http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2012/07/16/marissa-mayer-named-yahoo-ceo-new-most-powerful-woman-in-tech/
  • Chang, Kenneth. "Curiosity Rover Lands Safely on Mars." The New York Times. Aug. 6, 2012. (Oct. 17, 2012) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/06/science/space/curiosity-rover-lands-safely-on-mars.html
  • Couts, Andrew. "Not CISPA: Revised Senate cybersecurity bill praised by civil liberty advocates." Digital Trends. July 20, 2012. (Oct. 17, 2012) http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/not-cispa-revised-senate-cybersecurity-bill-praised-by-civil-liberty-advocates/
  • Exploratorium. "The Higgs Boson." CERN. (Oct. 17, 2012) http://www.exploratorium.edu/origins/cern/ideas/higgs.html
  • Geron, Tomio. "Facebook Officially Closes Instagram Deal." Forbes. Sept. 6, 2012 (Oct. 17, 2012) http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomiogeron/2012/09/06/facebook-officially-closes-instagram-deal/
  • Google Finance. "Facebook Inc." (Oct. 17, 2012) https://www.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=NASDAQ:FB
  • Investopedia. "Forced Initial Public Offering - IPO." (Oct. 17, 2012) http://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/forced-initial-public-offering-ipo.asp#axzz29aDP6vTf
  • Kendall, Brent. "Apple: DOJ Investigating Samsung's Use of Patents." The Wall Street Journal. Oct. 24, 2012. (Oct. 24, 2012) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204076204578076790061641664.html
  • Knovel. "SpaceX Drops Satellite Short Of Target After Engine Failure." Oct. 16, 2012. (Oct. 17, 2012) http://why.knovel.com/all-engineering-news/1968-spacex-drops-satellite-short-of-target-after-engine-failure.html
  • Lohr, Steve. "U.S. Disavows Patent at Center of Apple-Samsung Dispute." The New York Times. Oct. 23, 2012. (Oct. 23, 2012) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/technology/us-disavows-patent-at-center-of-apple-samsung-dispute.html
  • Marois, Michael B. "Google's Driverless Cars Permitted by New California Law." Bloomberg. Sept. 26, 2012. (Oct. 17, 2012) http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-26/google-s-driverless-cars-permitted-by-new-california-law.html
  • McCullagh, Declan. "How CISPA would affect you (faq)." CNET. April 27, 2012. (Oct. 17, 2012) http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-57422693-281/how-cispa-would-affect-you-faq/
  • Mullin, Joe. "In post-trial battles with Samsung, Apple fights to keep documents sealed." Ars Technica. Oct. 17, 2012 (Oct. 17, 2012) http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/10/in-post-trial-battles-with-samsung-apple-fights-to-keep-documents-sealed/
  • Overbye, Dennis. "Physicists Find Elusive Particle Seen as Key to Universe." The New York Times. July 4, 2012. (Oct. 9, 2012) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/05/science/cern-physicists-may-have-discovered-higgs-boson-particle.html
  • Peracchio, Thomas. "Microsoft announces Surface tablet pricing starting at $499." Examiner.com. Oct. 17, 2012. (Oct. 17, 2012) http://www.examiner.com/article/microsoft-announces-surface-tablet-pricing-starting-at-499
  • Perez, Juan Carlos. "Jerry Yang leaves Yahoo." Macworld. Jan. 17, 2012. (Oct. 17, 2012) http://www.macworld.com/article/1164865/jerry_yang_leaves_yahoo.html
  • Pidd, Helen. "India blackouts leave 700 million without power." The Guardian. July 31, 2012. (Oct. 17, 2012) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/31/india-blackout-electricity-power-cuts
  • Poeter, Damon. "Quantum Computing Pioneers Earn Nobel Prize in Physics." PCMag. Oct. 10, 2012. (Oct 17, 2012) http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2410825,00.asp.
  • Reisinger, Don. "Facebook faces deluge of lawsuits over troubled IPO." CNET. Sept. 26, 2012. (Oct. 17, 2012) http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57520481-93/facebook-faces-deluge-of-lawsuits-over-troubled-ipo/
  • Roettgers, Janko. "Breaking: MegaUpload shut down, founder arrested." GigaOm. Jan. 19, 2012 (Oct 17, 2012) http://gigaom.com/2012/01/19/megaupload-shut-down/
  • Savov, Vlad. "The SOPA blackout: Wikipedia, Reddit, Mozilla, Google, and many others protest proposed law." The Verge. Jan. 18, 2012. (Oct. 17, 2012) http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/18/2715300/sopa-blackout-wikipedia-reddit-mozilla-google-protest
  • Sloan, Paul. "Google's Marissa Mayer becomes Yahoo CEO." CNET. July 16, 2012. (Oct. 17, 2012) http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57473243-93/googles-marissa-mayer-becomes-yahoo-ceo/
  • Smith, Aaron et al. "Facebook reaches one billion users." CNN. Oct. 4, 2012. (Oct. 17, 2012) http://money.cnn.com/2012/10/04/technology/facebook-billion-users/
  • Sullivan, Danny. "As The Yahoo-Microsoft Search Alliance Falls Short, Could A Yahoo-Google Deal Emerge?" Search Engine Land. July 19, 2012. (Oct. 17, 2012) http://searchengineland.com/yahoo-microsoft-search-alliance-google-127843
  • Tate, Karl. "Space Jump: How Daredevil's Record-Breaking Supersonic Skydive Works." Space.com. Oct.14, 2012. (Oct. 17, 2012) http://www.space.com/17923-supersonic-skydive-space-jump-explained-infographic.html
  • Wall, Mike. "NASA: Huge Mars Rover's Sky Crane Landing Was 'Least Crazy' Idea." Space.com. Aug. 3, 2012. (Oct. 17, 2012) http://www.space.com/16889-mars-rover-curiosity-sky-crane-landing.html


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